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Terence Crawford to Retain WBO Welterweight Title Ahead of Junior Middleweight Title Tilt

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Unified welterweight champion Terence Crawford will be allowed to retain his WBO world title, reports World Boxing News.

Crawford, a two-weight undisputed champion is set to move up to 154 pounds to challenge the winner of Saturday’s junior middleweight title fight between Tim Tszyu and Sebastian Fundora in Las Vegas.

Last week Crawford (40-0, 31 KOs) decided to invoke his right as the WBO welterweight titleholder to enforce his right to a mandatory challenge of the organization’s current junior middleweight titleholder, as per the sanctioning body’s rules.

WBO president Paco Valcarcel confirmed to World Boxing News that Crawford would not be stripped of his title ahead of Tszyu-Fundora. Valcarcel cited Crawford’s relationship with the WBO and his status as a two-time undisputed champion as reasons why he will be allowed to retain the organization’s welterweight title while challenging for its junior middleweight crown.

“[B]ased on Crawford’s merits as a three-division WBO world champion and two-division undisputed champion,” Valcarcel said, “we will allow him to enter the ring and participate as WBO welterweight champion against the winner of Tszyu versus Fundora.”

Valcarcel indicated that a matchup between Crawford and the Tszyu-Fundora winner must take place within 180 days of Saturday’s fight – effectively, before summer’s end.

“We do not want to get ahead of ourselves,” Valcarcel told World Boxing News.

“But they are aware and cognizant that the winner must fight Crawford next.”

Fundora (20-1-1, 13 KOs) was drafted as a late injury replacement for Keith Thurman (30-1, 22 KOs). Initially slated to meet Serhii Bohachuk in a fight to decide the vacant WBC junior middleweight title on the show’s undercard, Fundora was bumped up to the main event when Thurman fell out.

The WBC ultimately decided to put its title on the line in the fight after Fundora was finalized as the new opponent for Tszyu.

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